Waitaki police combat fatigue with roadside barbecue

Police have been taking the opportunity to talk to road users about fatigue and distractions while feeding them barbecue food and coffee. Photo: NZ Police
Police have been taking the opportunity to talk to road users about fatigue and distractions while feeding them barbecue food and coffee. Photo: NZ Police
North Otago police took to the roads of Waitaki with a roadside barbecue to combat driver fatigue on Friday.

Police were handing pit goodie bags to drivers at a Maheno checkpoint containing water lollies, wristbands, tyre gauges, and pamphlets of information about driver fatigue and distractions.

"An opportunity to stop for a barbecue and coffee was also on offer for drivers who needed a rest", police said.

Oamaru police praised motorists after none were found to be driving impaired through Maheno, south of Oamaru.

In conjunction with the Waitaki Road Safe Committee driver reviver stop, set up between 6pm and 8pm on State Highway 1 near the town's petrol station, police carried out breath-alcohol and drug testing on approximately 200 drivers during the two-hour period.

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said none was found to be intoxicated or under the influence of illicit substances.

"It was good. It was early at night and we just stopped every vehicle that went through there. People were good about it ... but nervous for a start.''

He said many drivers took advantage of the opportunity to stop for a rest, particularly the large number who planned to travel through to Christchurch and further north.

"People really appreciated it and a huge number stopped for a break at the time, so that was the message that we were trying to get out there.''

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge.
Sergeant Tony Woodbridge.

Waitaki Road Safe played an important role when it came to safe driving initiatives, Sgt Woodbridge said.

Motorists could expect an increased police presence on the district's roads in the lead-up to Christmas and the New Year, he said.

The Waitaki Road Safe Committee is comprised of representatives from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, police, St John, the Waitaki District Council, Automobile Association, Students Against Driving Drunk, NZ Transport Agency, MTA, and the Waitaki Community Patrol.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

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